A career in law can be very lucrative. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary of lawyers in 2019 was $122,960. However, before you can practice law, you need to go through the necessary educational steps. If you are serious about becoming a lawyer, check out the following roadmap.
Get an Education
If you know you want to pursue a career as a lawyer early on, you can enroll with a four-year bachelor’s degree program to pursue a degree related to the legal path you are considering. Many prestigious law schools accept highly successful academic students. So, the more top marks you earn, and the more extracurricular activities you get involved with, the more you will strengthen your law school application. But to get into the law school of your dreams, you also need to pass the rigorous Law School Admission Test.
Take the LSAT
In the US, you must take the Law School Admission Test and submit your scores to the law schools you are applying to, alongside your undergraduate transcripts. The LSAT is typically taken during your junior year of undergraduate study. The exam tests critical thinking, analytical reasoning, and reading skills. You will have to spend countless hours preparing for the LSAT, so it is important you compare LSAT prep courses to find one that offers the best study materials for your style of learning. A good prep course can help you excel and gain a high test-score, so you will be more desirable to a higher number of law schools.
Choose the Right Law School
The next step is to apply to law schools. It is important that you determine what you want out of a law school so you can find ones best-suited to your requirements. You also need to take the cost into account. Law schools are not cheap. For the 2018/2019 school year, average tuition fees were $48,869 per year in the US. Although you need to spend time deciding which law school is your first choice, you may have to settle for another. Your chances of being accepted to a law school vary depending on your degree grades, LSAT score, and extracurricular activities.
Earn Your Juris Doctor
Once you have been accepted to a law school, the hard work really begins! You will need to complete a three-year program to earn a Juris Doctor degree. But you will need to pass the bar exam as well before you are able to practice law.
Take the Bar Exam
The final stage of the roadmap is taking the bar examination. You must pass the exam to be able to practice law in the United States legally. The exam is held twice a year, in February and July, and typically lasts two or three days. It contains two sections. The first is an essay section concerning general legal principles and state laws. The nature of this section varies depending on the state in which you are located. Also, some states conduct additional performance tests. The second section is the multistate bar examination, which consists of 200 standardized questions about common law.
You can only practice law in the states for which you have passed their bar exams. Therefore, make sure you know which state or states you want to practice in before registering for the bar exam. If you do not pass the bar exam the first time, you have the option of retaking it. However, the time and money you need to invest in preparing for the exam can be a lot. So, you should study harder than you ever have before to ensure you pass the bar exam first time.